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Reps Seek Central Monitoring System for Sports Betting in Nigeria

The House of Representatives Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs has called for the establishment of a central monitoring system for the sports betting industry in the country.

The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Canice Moore Chukwugoze Nwachukwu, during its session on Wednesday stated that the committee was not going to call for the shutting down of the sector but must ensure it follows laid down rules so it does not become inimical to society.

Deputy Director of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Sandra Agbor, stated that while awaiting the review and passage of the Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission Act 2005, the president should enact an Executive Order on the dangers of sports betting in Nigeria.

While outlining the contributions of sports betting to the economy, she said Nigerians plow about $2 billion a year into sports betting.

She also recommended that the Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission Act of 2005 be reviewed to address the dangers of sports betting, with the National Assembly expediting the review and passage of the Act by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Agbor further suggested that betting addicts should be required to receive counseling and treatment and that the NLRC, in collaboration with federal and state ministries of health, should establish units in public hospitals and primary health centers to provide free medical and mental health services for addicts by the fourth quarter of 2024. Additionally, she proposed that betting companies should be required to fund these treatment units by the first quarter of 2025.1Olafadeke Akeju, the Legal Officer of the Association of Nigerian Bookmakers, acknowledged that all stakeholders have a role to play in ensuring the gaming industry operates with integrity, transparency, accountability, and responsibility to mitigate and address the risks associated with these activities.

The Committee’s Chairman, Hon. Canice Nwachukwu (APC, Imo), stated that while gaming will not be banned, the system will be properly controlled. He directed all gaming operators to provide the committee with details of winners, losers, and the number of attempts made by individuals, emphasizing the need to introduce a central monitoring system to address the issues.

The parliament’s actions demonstrate a commitment to protecting the well-being of Nigerian citizens, particularly the youth and promoting responsible gaming practices that align with the country’s social and economic development goals.

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